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Additive Manufacturing

Partnering for a strong Swiss industry with additive manufacturing.

The wide-ranging potential of additive manufacturing (3D printing) enables great design freedom, cost-efficient and time-optimized production for small and medium quantities as well as the possibility of individualization in all sectors of the manufacturing industry.

Our experts at the ZHAW Platform Additive Manufacturing are at your side to successfully implement your new product, manufacturing and process ideas in the field of additive manufacturing, from the idea to the product.

New manufacturing technologies

Additive manufacturing (AM) processes are driving new business areas, enabling highly complex products, solving previously unsolved manufacturing problems, and changing value chains.

This key technology is opening new ways of thinking, solutions and applications for companies and their customers.

Development and consulting

The School of Engineering at the ZHAW, one of Switzerland's leading technical education and research institutions, , provides an AM research-to-industry platform which enables faster and efficient access to information, making the benefits of AM processes more accessible.

The AM platform offers comprehensive infrastructure, years of experience in the field of additive manufacturing methods in various forms and an interdisciplinary approach. It unifies our competencies in the areas of material development, product and production development, printer and control technology, and in advanced modeling methods, and enables our partners to implement their innovative project ideas and development projects.

Areas of expertise and fields of activity

Product Development and Production Technologies

  • Product development and production technologies with optimization of the entire production chain from the idea, via Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), production technologies and resources to the operational product
  • Processes: Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB, SLM) using metals, ceramics and plastics, material extrusion (MEX, FDM) and Vat Photopolymerization (VPP, SLA)
  • Development of systems and components for the efficient production of prototypes and end-user products
  • Training and continuing education in the field of Additive Manufacturing, from Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) to the appropriate manufacturing processes and post-processing

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Materials and Processes

  • Material development and qualification, tailored to individual material and process requirements
  • Additive manufacturing concepts for technical ceramics, metals, polymers, and fiber composites
  • Process development for new materials, e.g. high-performance alloys, glasses, sustainable polymers
  • Transfer between additive technologies and series production in the injection molding process
  • Material and component testing

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Mechatronic systems

  • Development of multi-axis device and process technology to achieve the greatest possible design freedom in material extrusion (MEX/FDM)
  • Development of new slicing strategies for material extrusion (MEX/FDM) to reduce support material
  • Non-planar printing and non-planar slicing for MEX/FDM enables improvement in surface quality

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Thermo-mechanical process simulation

Institut für Mechanische Systeme (IMES)

  • Thermo-mechanical process simulation methods (TMPS) for PBF-LB/M (hot spots, distortions, residual stresses, distortion compensation) to improve the shape accuracy and reliability of the additive manufacturing process
  • Development of calibration methods for TMPS for more accurate predictions.
  • Simulation-based optimization for a physically meaningful and robust adaptation of the support structures
  • Development of bionic lightweight components using topology optimization to exploit the full lightweight potential and the possibility of complex shapes through additive manufacturing
  • Thermo-physical and -mechanical material characterization and modelling (heat conduction, dilatometry) as a basis for simulations
  • Development of design and assessment methods for additively manufactured components to take appropriate account of potential manufacturing failures in the design

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Control and optimization in additive manufacturing

Centre for Artificial Intelligence

  • Targeted selection of process parameters under quality constraints via safe probabilistic model-based approaches
  • Closed-loop control of AM processes using available sensor data
  • Learning-based models for performance improvement

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Continuing education

The ZHAW has been offering continuing education courses for over 10 years and is the first university in Switzerland to offer a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in additive manufacturing (3D printing). Detailed information and registration:

Videos on additive manufacturing

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Events in the field of additive manufacturing

AM Expo | September 12 to 13, 2023, trade fair and symposium, Lucerne Exhibition Center

The ZHAW has been organizing symposia and conferences on 3D printing and additive manufacturing since 2014.

Publications in the field of additive manufacturing

Research projects

Partners of the Platform Additive Manufacturing

Institute for Product Development and Production Technologies (IPP)

Institute of Materials and Process Engineering (IMPE)

Institute of Mechanical Systems (IMES)

Institute of Mechatronic Systems (IMS)

Centre for Artificial Intelligence (CAI)

Partners of the Additive Manufacturing platform